Tram system not feasible

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 2:22am

I refer to the report ("Tram may suit Kai Tak better than monorail", April 29).

Kowloon East, covering the Kai Tak Development and the existing business districts in Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong, has the potential to supply a total office floor area of 5.4 million square metres (double the existing stock in Central district) for sustaining Hong Kong's economic growth in the long term. We plan to adopt a holistic strategy to cope with the significant traffic growth arising from the progressive development of Kowloon East into an alternative central business district (CBD). At the initial stage, the walking environment will be improved by provision of footbridges and subways in Kai Tak Development and adjacent areas.

Road-based green transport such as electric and hybrid buses will be deployed progressively from 2013 onwards. In the long term, an environmentally friendly linkage system in the form of an elevated monorail connecting to the elevated MTR stations at Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong is proposed to be added to provide reliable, efficient and safe services enhancing the inter-district and intra-district connectivity of the Kowloon East CBD.

In general, the supporting columns of the proposed monorail can be located within the central dividers of the existing roads or roadside open spaces as far as practicable, thus reducing occupation of road space with minimum disturbance to road users.

From the information provided by the tram operator, the at-grade track of the proposed tramway will occupy about two traffic lanes for their exclusive use and an additional traffic lane will be needed at the tram stations.

It would be practically impossible to accommodate the proposed tramway within the existing roads in Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong. For instance, occupying two traffic lanes of the four-lane Wang Chiu Road and three-lane Hoi Yuen Road will seriously affect the existing road network and traffic.

Moreover, the current Kai Tak Outline Zoning Plan does not provide for an at-grade tramway system. The proposed tramway alignment runs at-grade through part of the promenade in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay and cuts across major open spaces, such as the Metro Park and Station Square in Kai Tak.

Its impact on the promenade and park users, including safety concerns, will not be acceptable. A cheap option which cannot satisfy the functional requirements of the connectivity of the Kowloon East CBD is hardly a cost-effective solution.

Norman Y. S. Heung, project manager, Kowloon Development Office, Civil Engineering and Development Department